RRGwrites

On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister

Prime Minister. Is He A Leadership Material?

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Listening to Barack Obama’s spirited election speech yesterday, I could not help recall the pride our own Prime Minister takes in speaking less. Well, I am myself not an advocate of leaders’ babble and ranting without a cause and I am also not falling prey to the Time and Outlook magazines’ works on the respective ‘Underachievers’. However, as an ardent student of the idea of leadership, I cannot fathom as to why would the leader of world’s largest democracy fails to communicate and motivate his nation!

Then, another questions comes to mind, is he actually a leadership material? Or, was he, when he donned the cap of the PM in 2004?

However, I am not writing this blog blindly criticizing the Prime Minister; so many of them seem to be doing that off late. Nor is this blog aimed at hailing Obama as a better leader than Dr.Singh. I am rather thinking aloud; is this good man, the genius academician and a man of indisputable repute in Indian economy and polity, a real leader? Does he possess what we call the skills of leadership? Or, is he a sad case of Peter’s Principle, where he was mistakenly promoted to his levels of incompetence?

My mind says; he was never a leadership fitment. He was always an academic genius, who excelled in all he did, albeit as an individual contributor. Those who carefully noted the happenings in early 1990s in India, a period that credits Dr.Singh as an architect of liberalization of the Indian economy, would certainly remember it was the might and backing of PV Narasimha Rao, the then Indian PM, under whose leadership and guidance Dr. Singh, the then Finance Minister could take those bold decisions the nation thanks him today for.

In my assessment, he was never a leadership candidate, not at least for this crucial responsibility. Retuning back to power in 2004, the Congress Party found him as a befitting person to be given the top-job, with a clever agenda of ‘remote-control-ruling’ by the Party President. He possessed all qualities the common man would look in a chief of our nation – unblemished track record, authenticity, credibility, knowledge; he enjoyed the trust of the masses. After all, we saw him as a messiah of the economic reforms. In him becoming the PM, the party found a silent front, and the nation was led to believe that with all these qualities, he would but obviously be the true leader we always wanted.

Eight years later, we find things so starkly different. He is just not THE leader we assumed him to be. Authentic and trustworthy still as a person, he emerges a fit case of poor leadership. He just doesn’t inspire, just doesn’t invoke confidence in the masses. We still believe he is a great man. But a leader? We doubt. Many don’t even doubt; they believe he isn’t.

When I heard Obama speak with passion yesterday, I found his words compelling. Not just plain oratory it was, it appeared authentic to me. It invoked enthusiasm. It inspired me. Something that one always misses when our own PM speaks.

What does he lack, then? Why don’t we feel compelled or inspired by him?

John Hamm, the celebrated author of the bestseller ‘Unusually Excellent’, speaks at length about leaders being compelling. Parts of this book are so befitting in the current case,

“People who are authentic and trustworthy are usually good and fair…. They might be candidates for a good friendship. But it is not obvious that we should follow them – anywhere.

 …We (followers) must feel compelled (to follow)… there is no such thing as an unwilling follower, only one who has not yet seen a compelling reason to join…

 Hamm continues, and speaks at length about the five E’s of excellent leadership:

  • Great leaders know how to engage
  • Great leaders enroll people
  • They energize the troops, to forge them into a cohesive unit, orient them towards the common goal, and marshal the resources to support them in their task
  • They empower; build leaders under them
  • They enthuse…making their mission exciting for their followers, compelling them to follow…

Does Dr. Singh possess above qualities? I wonder, as I don’t see them, howsoever hard I try to locate them in him. I don’t get answer to the crucial question – ‘what’s in it for me’, in his leadership.

And how would I see these qualities in him, even if he possesses all of them!! After all, I don’t just see him talking; I just don’t see his passion. Being nice & introvert is all fine; when would he start building confidence in his followers? When will he start to engage and enroll? When will he, like a strong leader, reprimand and rein his rather notorious ‘gangs of ministers’, who just don’t do him any good in the failing attempt of governance? Will I ever see him as bold and courageous?

Does he even know that he NEEDS these skills to be able to lead us? I doubt yet again.

Failing me on all above, PM is just another ordinary replica of a corporate world’s manager, who got promoted to a role of ‘leader’, without anyone caring whether he had it in him to be one or not.

One thing that I am confident of – I’m not the only one thinking aloud like this.

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Photo-credit one: economictimes.indiatimes.com

Photo-credit two: firstpost.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are author’s own and not of the organisation he is associated with.

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Responsible(?) Prime Minister

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In a rare moment of him found talking, the Prime Minister yesterday stated in the Parliament, “I take full responsibility for the decisions of the (Coal) ministry.”

And then, he went on to rather insufficiently rebut all the claims of the CAG about the loss of revenue the nation suffered, albeit allegedly, in the en vogue Coal-mining scam.

Yet, he did not say a word about accepting the ‘moral’ responsibility that he, either as Minister of Coal or as the Prime Minister, should have taken of this unfortunate rip-off of the nation’s money.

Scam after scam, I, a common citizen who used to have immense faith in Dr. Singh, have observed him either keep quiet, or simply refute any difficult question in a rather ‘holier-than-thou’ manner, putting the blame on ‘coalition-compulsions’.

Listening to his words yesterday, I could not help recall another Prime Minister we had in yesteryears – Late Lal Bahadur Shastri. A politician of high personal integrity and principles, he set a very tall example of what it means to ‘take full responsibility.’

He was the Minister of Railways from 1952 to 1956; in September 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident that led to 112 deaths, accepting moral responsibility as the in-charge of the said Ministry. However, the then Prime Minister Nehru did not accept his resignation.

Three months later, in December 1956, he again resigned accepting both moral and constitutional responsibility for another unfortunate railway accident that claimed 144 passengers’ lives.

This time, he urged Nehru to accept his resignation. When Nehru addressed the Parliament, he spoke as to why he accepted the resignation. He said that that he was accepting the same because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because the Minister was in any way responsible for the accident.

I am sure, the founding fathers of the nation thought then that they are indeed setting an example for all politicians of the future to follow.

Sadly, how wrong they were!

I would leave to it the readers to decide; what does it mean for a Prime Minister to ‘accept responsibility.’

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Photo-credit: thepioneerwoman.com 

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are author’s own and not of the organisation he is associated with.

Written by RRGwrites

August 28, 2012 at 9:52 PM

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